by James Derk
Scripps Howard News Service
I guess I remain a journalism snob; after making it through journalism school using manual typewriters and counting headlines by hand to see if they would fit (a capital W counts as 2), the idea of self-publishing remains creepy.
Before the Web we had "barriers to entry" to journalism. if you wanted to print a newspaper you had to have a press, a team of editors and a distribution method. And there was a comfort in knowing that before anything could hit print that a couple other professional editors had to look at it, too.
The Internet changed all that.
Matt Drudge really was the first one to take advantage of this new medium, breaking the story of the Clinton-Lewinski mess before Newsweek could. He proved a one-man band could nudge the world a little. Now other sites like thesmokinggun.com are bypassing reporters completely and just posting original documents and photos and letting readers make up their own minds.
Today there are thousands of blogs about thousands of topics out there. Some have millions of readers, others have none. But I guess it's a good thing that people are out there writing, keeping the written word alive in this era of the cell phone.
I kept getting e-mails from people wanting archives of my column and because it runs in many different newspapers I had no central repository to point to. Now I do. I went to blogger.com, a division of Google, and went through the five-minute process to set up my own blog.
(Note: I promise it won't turn into a self-indulgent blog about my kids and the politics of the day, but rather a focused repository for computer information in an effort to reduce my e-mail volume. As I have time I will continue to add "old" columns until archive is complete.)
I was impressed by Blogger in terms of ease of setup. I had looked at other products but this one was easy to use and less hassle as I have no time to maintain much of anything any more.
With Blogger you have a choice of having your blog hosted on Blogger's own servers or hosted on your own, as I have done. (For the latter, all you need is your own Web space and know your FTP settings; Blogger pretty much does the rest.)
You can use one of the default templates or, if you know html, fiddle with the design to your heart's content.
Blogger is, at this point, free and ad-free. You can keep up with your favorite blogs via RSS (Really Simple Syndication), which I hope to cover in a column soon.
You can see mine at www.cyberdads.com/blog.html
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